HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - He had on green warmup pants, not board shorts. A brisk Huntington day necessitated a sweatshirt in lieu of a swim shirt.
Instead of a white sandy beach, incoming Marshall football recruit Gunnar Holcombe had nothing but artificial blades of grass and black rubber pellets beneath his feet as he walked around the Edwards Stadium turf last week.
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native shrugged his shoulders at the seafood and the surf and spent the week sauntering around at Herd football practice.
Not the standard Spring Break for a teenager, right?
Holcombe, who is projected to play quarterback at Marshall, should benefit from his decision.
Marshall initially had a verbal commitment from Seabreeze High signal caller Trenton Norvell, who reneged on that pledge and went to Cincinnati. A perk of landing Norvell was his plan to graduate high school early and enroll in January.
That would have given Coach Doc Holliday's Herd three scholarship quarterbacks during spring drills.
But Norvell changed his mind in December and Holcombe slid into MU's Class of 2012 QB vacancy. Holcombe, however, would not be able to be a midyear enrollee like Norvell.
So, the idea to spend his week's worth of respite from schoolwork obligations in the mountains was born.
But, what exactly could Holcombe do at a spring practice?
"Just as much as a sportswriter can do," Marshall offensive coordinator Bill Legg said.
No, Holcombe couldn't throw and ease the strain on the arm of Rakeem Cato, who is the only truly healthy QB option with Blake Frohnapfel working his way back from offseason labrum surgery.
"Anytime a kid comes on an unofficial visit and even though he's a signee, he is still a prospective student-athlete because he hasn't started school yet," Legg said. "He came all this way and has to pay his own way and feed himself, but he can be around the building, visit with coaches, sit in on meetings and watch practice."
That's a huge plus, right?